The Sonoma State STAR, SSU's student-run newspaper since 1979 is no stranger to receiving awards. However, this spring the STAR netted four - including a first place national award - a sign that that the paper is stronger than ever.
"There's a great deal of talk about the decline of newspapers," said Chip McAuley, STAR Adviser. "But what we're really talking about is a new business model and a new way of doing journalism that includes print and online - this is reflected in the awards the STAR received this spring and in the way we do things."
The first was a Best of Show award for the STAR's online site: www.sonomastatestar.com.
"Many people both from Sonoma State and across the nation read our online edition," said Laura Finmand, editor-in-chief. "We're also carried on the college newswire so other universities use some of our top stories. While we never get into the mindset of expecting awards we were very excited to be recognized by the Associated Collegiate Press during the national journalism convention in Seattle in March."
"When you're in competition with newspapers from across the nation from Hawaii to New York and even outside the country with representatives from Canada - literally hundreds of universities - best in show awards are something that you secretly hope for, but you keep it in the back of your mind and focus on the educational seminars and student-led panels."
Both Finmand and News Editor Kendall Fedor sat on student-led panels while at the convention. Will Hixson, online editor, accepted the award on behalf of the STAR.
Next, the STAR received good news from the California College Media Association.
"A Best Sports Writing award was another unexpected surprise," said McAuley. "We have a strong and dedicated sports section and it's fantastic to have that recognized -especially from an organization where we compete against all the other college newspapers in California."
Just when the STAR thought the good news was over for the spring the paper was told it had won a First Place with Special Merit award from American Scholastic along with an Outstanding Story award.
"It never rains, but it pours," said McAuley. "I'm very proud of the students and what they've accomplished. The STAR represents not only the Communication Studies Department, but the School of Arts and Humanities and Sonoma State University as a whole. And it represents them well and keeps the First Amendment alive while providing a real-world hands on experience of journalism for the students."
"Everyone hopes for their work to be recognized on the state and national level," she said. "But it rarely happens all at the same time. I'm proud of our dedicated staff, our adviser and having the opportunity to put out a newspaper every week. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Putting the STAR together is a seven-day a week process for the staff and the adviser. It's great to be able to take a moment to take a moment and pat everyone on the back."
Past STAR awards in recent years include: Best Back to School Issue, Best News Series and Best Sports Photography.
Visit the STAR Website at www.sonomastatestar.com. The STAR hits stands every Tuesday.